Monday, November 16, 2009

Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr.'s Speech during UPang-Phinma's Inauguration

By Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr., President and CEO, PHINMA

University of Pangasinan Student Plaza
November 15, 2009

Archbishop Villegas, Honorable Governor Espino, Dagupan Mayor Fernandez and Vice-mayor Fernandez, other local government officials; representatives from CHED, DepEd, TESDA, the PNP and other government offices; college and university owners and presidents; members of the business and social community; UPang administrators, faculty, employees, and alumni; friends and colleagues in making lives better through education, good evening.

First let me thank you for joining us tonight. It is OUR privilege that you are allowing us to present to you our plans for the new University of Pangasinan-PHINMA. Secondly, let me thank you for accepting us into the community. We must admit that it was rough in the beginning, being unfamiliar with the culture and people, but things have settled down, and we all – from the employees and faculty to management – are eager and excited to build a University, of which every family here, and every generation of Pangasinenses will be proud.

The truth of the matter is, the PHINMA Education Network has long wanted to be here in Dagupan. Discussions with UPang began as early as 2003 when the network was still starting. And, it took us almost six years to finally get here.

It should be of no wonder why the PHINMA Education Network wanted to be here and wanted UPang to be part of the network. Pangasinan is a great province with an illustrious history and legacy. Princess Urduja, the legendary woman warrior, was believed to have ruled this territory in the 14th century. A proud people, the Pangasinenses rose against Spanish rule long before the Philippine revolution, in 1660 and 1762, temporarily driving the Spanish out, only to be conquered again shortly thereafter. The province was once and for all liberated in July 1898.

Pangasinan has also produced some of our nations most renowned Filipinos. Writers F. Sionil Jose and Carlos Bulosan, National Artist for visual arts, Victorio Edades and veteran actress Gloria Romera are all from Pangasinan. Former Central Bank governor Gabriel Singson and PHINMA’s very own former Secretary of Energy Dr. Francisco Viray are both from Lingayen. The province has also produced the longest-serving speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Jose De Venecia, and one of our nation’s most successful presidents, President Fidel V. Ramos.

With an economy bigger than all of the Ilocos provinces combined, a population that accounts for more than 50% of the region’s, Pangasinan is the gateway to Northern Luzon and is the heartland of the Philippines. The province economic power is such that some have proposed a new region, the Northwest Luzon region with Pangasinan as its lone province, or, even the Pangasinan Autonomous Region. It is of no wonder that we want to be here in Pangasinan.

University of Pangasinan likewise has a great tradition. Not only is it the first and oldest University in the province, it is the first University north of Manila. Leading education in the region since 1925, it was founded by members of the academic elite of the University of the Philippines and the University of Manila. With a history of graduating board top-notchers in Engineering, Education, and Nursing, it remains the province’s biggest single campus University. Its academic legacy continues till today having Pangasinan’s highest board passing rates in the past two nursing boards and having produced a second placer in this year’s education board examination. Many of the region’s school principals, elected and government officials, business managers, and professionals are products of this institution. Again, it should be no wonder that we wanted the University of Pangasinan to be part of the PHINMA Education Network.

Happily, we are here in Pangasinan, and contentedly, the University of Pangasinan, the region’s leader in education, is now a member of the PHINMA Education Network.

Before I continue and map out the plans and programs of the new UPang-PHINMA allow me tell you a little bit of who WE are. Victory Liner is one of the nation’s largest and pioneering bus companies in the country. A product of the Japanese occupation, it was born of the bits and pieces of US military vehicles, and first plied the Manila-Olongapo route in 1945, with a bus driven by its founder, Jose Hernandez Sr. It was incorporated in 1953, and was and is the first among industry players to introduce many innovations meant to improve safety and passenger comfort. Its mission till today is to move people better and safer.

The PHINMA story, on the other hand, is, I quote, “about the development of the Filipino entrepreneur and professional manager,” unquote. Born of the belief of its founders, Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr., Filemon C. Rodriguez, and Ernesto Escaler, that Filipinos could professionally manage large corporations it was incorporated in 1956 with 112,500 pesos. Today the PHINMA group manages more than 20 companies with combined assets of 23 billion pesos. Its present mission is to make the lives of Filipinos better through competitive and well-managed business enterprises.

A tradition of academic leadership and excellence in the region, decades of serving the communities and people of Luzon, and a passion for improving the lives of our people backed by competent and professional management – all come together here in this new University of Pangasinan-PHINMA, for greatness can only beget greatness.

Our vision for the new UPang is to build on its legacy of greatness and produce a truly national class University – one recognized throughout the country for its academic standards, the professionals it produces, and its contributions to community and nation building. Our goal is to create an institution of higher learning good enough so families of the region do not need to travel far to get the education their children so deserve. And our promise is to give you a University of Pangasinan, of which every Pangasinense can be even prouder.

What exactly can you expect of this new Upang?

First, we are embarking on a major campus and facilities improvement program. For this school year alone, the Board has approved almost 60 million pesos for this purpose. As a result, we recently blessed the nursing and culinary arts center which houses a new mock hospital and nursing arts lab, a mock hotel, a fully equipped kitchen and a bartending and barista center. Also part of the first phase of this program are brand new computer laboratories equipped with new computers and server systems. The second phase will break ground in two weeks with the renovation of the main building that will house additional computer laboratories including a Mac multi-media laboratory, a speech lab, and our professional schools. Next school year’s improvement will focus on our library and resource center, engineering and science laboratories, and other basic student facilities. UPang will no longer be “the oldest school looking old,” rather, it will be the region’s premier institution looking - - “premier.”

Second, as we strengthen our existing programs, we are expanding our course offerings. By June 2010, we are aiming to open BS Criminology and BS Tourism Management. In addition, to meet the demands of a new generation, UPang intends to also offer current, modern programs for GenX, -- Interior Design, Fine Arts, Culinary Arts, Barista and Bartending certification, and Information Technology with a specialization in Animation.

Third, we intend to fully exploit the network and opportunities the PHINMA group of companies and Victory and Five Star Liners create. The advantages for our students and faculty of having corporate partners and actual employers as part of the UPang family are obvious. Faculty members of different disciplines can train with our different sister companies, civil engineers with PHINMA Properties and Union Galvasteel, electrical engineers with TA power our power company, IT and accountancy with PHINMA’s or Victory’s corporate headquarters. These same companies also provide first among equals employment opportunities for our graduates. Moreover, having actual employers so close and accessible allows us to custom fit programs to suit the needs and requirements of industry. Our animation specialization, for example, was designed together with the PHINMA animation company Toon City, with the goal of turning out animators with the competencies the company needs. We are also considering opening, together with Victory Liner, an automotive mechanic program to produce their needed technicians.

Fourth, the University is committing itself to eventually having the best-paid, best-trained faculty in this part of the country. The faculty is the heart of any educational institution, and we must always take care of our heart. As such, much management time has been spent carefully analyzing compensation and benefits in order to produce the most appropriate package for our people. Furthermore, we have set up training and renewal programs and a staff college to strengthen competencies and spirit. Finally, a scholarship program has been established to help the faculty obtain their masteral and doctoral degrees. Our only condition is that they study in the best schools possible. Our belief is that a committed and highly competent faculty will produce the best results for our kids regardless of the conditions of the school.

Last and not the least, UPang is promising to continue to contribute to the development and welfare of the people of the region. We are part of this community, and therefore, must be a good Pangasinan citizen. We thus feel it is our duty to setup programs like Helping Hands to assist victims of calamities and others who are simply less privileged. Our teachers have been tasked to provide training programs for the barangays and public schools while our students are being encouraged to perform their own duties as citizens and participate in the upcoming 2010 elections. Furthermore, we are expanding our academic and need based scholarships to ensure that families with kids with superior abilities and who are willing to work hard are not deprived of a University education due only to financial limitations.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the new University of Pangasinan-PHINMA. As you can see, our dreams are undeniably lofty; but they must be if we are to help achieve your dreams for your children. We have a belief in the PHINMA Education Network, it’s a quote from the Adidas ad -- “impossible is nothing.” And indeed, with your continued support, with UPang-PHINMA, nothing will be impossible for the Pangasinense family.

Thank you and good evening.

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